Quickstart - Detection of differential RNA modificationsΒΆ

Download and extract the demo dataset from our zenodo:

wget https://zenodo.org/record/5162402/files/demo.tar.gz
tar -xvf demo.tar.gz

After extraction, you will find:

|-- Hek293T_config.yml  # configuration file
|-- data
    |-- HEK293T-METTL3-KO-rep1  # dataset dir
    |-- HEK293T-WT-rep1 # dataset dir
|-- demo.gtf # GTF (general transfer format) file for transcript-to-gene mapping
|-- demo.fa # transcriptome reference FASTA file for transcript-to-gene mapping

Each dataset under the data directory contains the following directories:

  • fast5 : Raw signal, FAST5 files
  • fastq : Basecalled reads, FASTQ file
  • bamtx : Transcriptome-aligned sequence, BAM file
  • nanopolish: Eventalign files obtained from nanopolish eventalign

Note that the FAST5, FASTQ and BAM files are required to obtain the eventalign file with Nanopolish, xPore only requires the eventalign file. See our Data preparation page for details to obtain the eventalign file from raw reads.

  1. Preprocess the data for each data set using xpore dataprep. Note that the --gtf_or_gff and --transcript_fasta arguments are required to map transcriptomic to genomic coordinates when the --genome option is chosen, so that xPore can run based on genome coordinates. However, GTF is the recommended option. If GFF is the only file available, please note that the GFF file works with GENCODE or ENSEMBL FASTA files, but not UCSC FASTA files. We plan to remove the requirement of FASTA files in a future release.(This step will take approximately 5h for 1 million reads):

    # Within each dataset directory i.e. demo/data/HEK293T-METTL3-KO-rep1 and demo/data/HEK293T-WT-rep1, run
    xpore dataprep \
    --eventalign nanopolish/eventalign.txt \
    --gtf_or_gff ../../demo.gtf \
    --transcript_fasta ../../demo.fa \
    --out_dir dataprep \

The output files are stored under dataprep in each dataset directory:

  • eventalign.index : Index file to access eventalign.txt, the output from nanopolish eventalign
  • data.json : Preprocessed data for xpore-diffmod
  • data.index : File index of data.json for random access per gene
  • data.readcount : Summary of readcounts per gene
  • data.log : Log file

Run xpore dataprep -h or visit our Command line arguments to explore the full usage description.

2. Prepare a .yml configuration file. With this YAML file, you can specify the information of your design experiment, the data directories, the output directory, and the method options. In the demo directory, there is an example configuration file Hek293T_config.yaml available that you can use as a starting template. Below is how it looks like:

notes: Pairwise comparison without replicates with default parameter setting.

        rep1: ./data/HEK293T-METTL3-KO-rep1/dataprep
        rep1: ./data/HEK293T-WT-rep1/dataprep

out: ./out # output dir

See the Configuration file page for more details.

  1. Now that we have the data and the configuration file ready for modelling differential modifications using xpore-diffmod.
# At the demo directory where the configuration file is, run.
xpore diffmod --config Hek293T_config.yml

The output files are generated within the out directory:

  • diffmod.table : Result table of differential RNA modification across all tested positions
  • diffmod.log : Log file

Run xpore diffmod -h or visit our Command line arguments to explore the full usage description.

We can rank the significantly differentially modified sites based on pval_HEK293T-KO_vs_HEK293T-WT. The results are shown below.:

id                position   kmer  diff_mod_rate_KO_vs_WT  pval_KO_vs_WT  z_score_KO_vs_WT  ...  sigma2_unmod  sigma2_mod  conf_mu_unmod  conf_mu_mod  mod_assignment        t-test
ENSG00000114125  141745412  GGACT               -0.823318  4.241373e-115        -22.803411  ...      5.925238   18.048687       0.968689     0.195429           lower  1.768910e-19
ENSG00000159111   47824212  GGACT               -0.828023   1.103790e-88        -19.965293  ...      2.686549   13.820089       0.644436     0.464059           lower  5.803242e-18
ENSG00000159111   47824138  GGGAC               -0.757891   1.898161e-73        -18.128515  ...      3.965195    9.877299       0.861480     0.359984           lower  9.708552e-08
ENSG00000159111   47824137  GGACA               -0.604056   7.614675e-24        -10.068479  ...      7.164075    4.257725       0.553929     0.353160           lower  2.294337e-10
ENSG00000114125  141745249  GGACT               -0.514980   2.779122e-19         -8.977134  ...      5.215243   20.598471       0.954968     0.347174           lower  1.304111e-06

4. (Optional) We can consider only one modification type per k-mer by finding the majority mod_assignment of each k-mer. For example, the majority of the modification means of GGACT (mu_mod) is lower than the non-modification counterpart (mu_unmod). We can filter out those positions whose mod_assigment values are not in line with those of the majority in order to restrict ourselves with one modification type per kmer in the analysis. This can be done by running xpore postprocessing.

xpore postprocessing --diffmod_dir out

With this command, we will get the final file in which only kmers with their mod_assignment different from the majority assigment of the corresponding kmer are removed. The output file majority_direction_kmer_diffmod.table is generated in the out directtory. You can find more details in our paper.

Run xpore postprocessing -h or visit our Command line arguments to explore the full usage description.